Born at Bellingham, WA; deafened at age 11 from spinal meningitis; graduated the California School for the Deaf, Berkeley (1948), then graduated Gallaudet College. Taught and coached at the North Dakota and North Carolina Schools for the deaf, then English at Gallaudet College 1960-1968. National director of the National Association of the Deaf Comunication Skills Program 1968-1978. One-time president of the American Coalition of Citizens with Disabilities; taught and wrote several books about sign language, including the best-selling A Basic Course in Manual Communication; founded T.J. Publishers in 1978 to publish deaf-related books. Died of heart failure at Silver Spring, MD. A video documentary of his life is Portrait of a Deaf Irish American: Terrence James O'Rourke (1992).
Great Deaf Americans, The Second Edition, p.274-279; The Eagle Soars to Enlightenment, p.382-282; ABC-Clio Companion, p.231.
17 April 1932-10 January 1992